Since the first running of the 60/60 SuperSprint format in Tasmania, one of the rules has been amended. Now, any car onelap down at the end of the first half will be elevated to the lead lap tocontest the second half.
While the change of the rule is a positivestep – it means anyone one lap down will not have to circulate with noincentive to race hard – it could potentially make a huge difference tothis year’s Championship.
At the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365,, Craig Lowndes was involved inan incident early on that left him a lap down. The Red Bull racer had gone intothe event, which the second in the Championship, as the points leader andfell down the standings after the result on the Saturday. After a thirdChampionship event, Lowndes sits third.
After that race, he was disappointed andsaid there was no use fighting when he was on-track.
However, while the situation hurt him thefirst time round, Lowndes believes this rule amendment is positive for thesport. And while it has drawn parallels to NASCAR, if it works for the series, it should be used.
After landing in Perth yesterday, Lowndes– who can boast 13 race wins throughout his career at Barbagallo Raceway– discussed the rule change with v8Supercars.com.au.
“Let’s just hope it doesn’t hurt me for the Championship,” Lowndes said of the way it played out in Tasmania.
“They were the rules and regulations we allknew and ran to at that point, but now they’ve realised that put me out ofthe second half.
“There was no encouragement to push hard inthe second half of the 60/60 race in Tassie – the rule they have gone to is what we should have started the season with. It makes sense.”
And that is exactly why V8 Supercars hasmade the amendment – it made sense.
“I think it is a positive change, no doubt…It will definitely be great going into those races knowing there’s theopportunity in that second half to have a decent result, though it’s alwayshard at the back of grid.”
However, Lowndes agreed the days of winningthe race from last are behind us.
“It’d be a very tough ask to start at theback of the grid now, with everyone’s current form – you’d have aspirations tobe top 10. But it would be hard to start at the back and make your way throughin these short races.”
Lowndes isn’t surprised there have been theNASCAR comparisons to the ‘lucky dog’ rule after the change.
“If you look at the NASCAR style of it,whenever they have a Safety Car period and someone’s a lap down, that car hasthe opportunity to unlap itself and get back into the race. That works fortheir style and for the duration of their race. What they haveworks very well.
“For us, for people to see the rule changeenforced very much like that, I think it’s a positive step forward. At leas adriver who’s had a bad first half has the opportunity to put on a good show.
“In Tasmania, there was no point – Ihad no incentive to make my way through the field. I was a lap down, all I’d dowas hurt the car or be caught in someone else’s accident… so instead I used itas a test session.”
Lowndes believes Western Australia will seea different style of racing at the circuit this year.
“Tyres wear very quickly and there willpossibly be a benefit in doing a pit stop throughout the race (on Sunday),” hesaid.
“That is something we’ll see for the firsttime – some pit stop racing within the current format.
“There’s no doubt you have to look aftertyres and you need a well-balanced car (to do that). As soon as the tyres gooff here you can really struggle.
“Both Jamie (Whincup) and I are excited aboutcoming back – we’ve done a lot of homework in the couple of weeks from NewZealand and hit the ground with lots of confidence.”